In Pictures: DZ Design renovates Emirates Park Zoo

It's a unique resort in the heart of Abu Dhabi

CEO of Emirates Park, Joanne A Hana, enlisted the help of the illustrious interior designers DZ Design to create a chic, contemporary and, dare we say, roar-some 'Zoo Resort.'

Emirates Park Zoo recently underwent a series of exciting renovations to its resort and F&B outlets. 

Dubai-based interiors agency DZ Design explain where the inspiration came from.

“The idea of the interiors aesthetic and colours come directly from the animals that live here,” elaborates Dina Murali, design director.

“To see rescues from the region given shelter and rehabilitation is heartwarming. The colours of the suites, with premium and deluxe rooms and the restaurant, flow seamlessly alongside the zoo and its animals.

"The materials too; jute from Indonesia and India for the lights and rugs as well as handmade tiles for the flooring are close to its natural habitat. Care was taken not to disrupt the animals during construction and to ensure minimal intrusion to their space.”

‘To blend in with the surrounding’ was the key directive the CEO gave to the designers when revamping the all-day dining, reception, chalets and guest rooms.

Dina adds: “We want to create a space for families where they have the unique opportunity to interact and get up close to the animals from the time that they step into the resort and created an enclosed space where kids are safe to run wild and enjoy a jam packed activity programme and educational entertainment.”

Luxurious room, safari style

Guests arrive at the hotel's monkey-filled reception through an avenue of timber arches surrounded by lush greenery and chirping birds.

To further instil a sense of being at one with nature, premium family suites at the zoo actually overlook the giraffe enclosure, so the design team decided to decorate the one-bed suites in bright amber, while the toilets in the room are decorated in handmade black and white floor tiles inspired by the zebras who accompany the giraffes.

The flooring is done in a timber herringbone pattern with rugs under the bed and sofa in natural, dyed jute from India.

Upturned Indonesia-made baskets act as side tables in the living room, complete with natural stone tops and scaled models of giraffes as accessory adornments.

The living room has adjoining dining with rope walls at the entrance; the pantry is suitable for a family to stay with the sofa doubling up as a bed for young hotel guests. Large windows keep these rooms well lit and airy and tepees are available for little explorers.

All 25 family suites open onto a patio with grey and white textures, lit by basket chandeliers woven with cane. The flowing sheers further romanticize the view from the room into the lush green outdoors and well into the animal sanctuary.

New all-day-dining restaurant The Hide is a fun space for all ages, with an asymmetrical timber coffered ceiling and upholstery filled with animal prints.

Wild about going green

Owned by Nasser Lakribani Al Nuaimi, the 61-hectare site opened as a family farm and was later established as the first zoo resort in the Middle East.

It now offers VIP animal interactions and prides itself for setting benchmarks for sustainable practices, like building animal enclosures and shelters with discarded wood and aiming to be totally plastic and waste free by the end of 2020.

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